Casper White, Jochen Klein

Kingsgate Workshops Trust and Project Space

18 May –  15 June 2019

Casper White is a portrait painter.  What does that actually mean?  Genre were those sub-divisions (principally within the domain of painting) – once hierarchical – and later serving as a given form within which a painter might operate or behave or move to challenge its conventions and parameters.

Paintings of people still talk to the long (perhaps the longest) tradition within painting.  But they can also talk to the mutability of identity; to the strange place of the studio; to those other spaces – the subject’s described surroundings; to dress, or attitude; to the relationship between light and paint matter; to the glory of youth, the gravitas of age and the hubris of posterity.  They talk about lust and longing and empathy and desire.  They speak of hope and of loss.  They cleave and interrogate the space between truth and fantasy.  They connect by means of a surrogate touch; they memorialise and they mourn.

Casper’s subjects are his friends and acquaintances.  Awarded the coveted NPG Travel Award in 2017 he took these friends to clubs in Berlin and Mallorca, drawing in – and subsequently making paintings of – ecstatic nights out, and accompanying them with tender pencil portraits of the slow and quiet mornings after.

Casper White, Jochen Klein
18 May –  15 June 2019
  PV Friday  17 May 2019 6 – 9pm


For the exhibition at Kingsgate Project Space the figure is all but gone.  But the touch; the kiss of light on fabric; the sense of an ending or a recently absented presence lingers.  In painted silk drapes, cut lighting gels and porcelain confetti, the close friend, the loved one, haunts the remnants from some extraordinary event – itself already transformed by memories.

Within this charged and potent environment hangs one painting by Jochen Klein (1967-1997).  An adolescent boy pulls his knee up to his chest as he sits on the threshold of a park or a forest space.  He looks directly out of the picture as his shoulder leans into the trunk of an autumnal silver birch. Aside from the figure and two trees, the rest of the picture dissolves into painting marks which hover on the edge of descriptive form.  Refusing to depict the particularity of that place, instead the spatters and pulls of the painter’s brush allow the whole scene to become engulfed in misty light that causes the image to feel both familiar and simultaneously confined to the status of a fragile remembrance.

This exhibition is made possible by the generous support of the Wolfgang Tillmans collection

" Caspar White uses scrap envelopes, record sleeves and brushed steel to capture the moods of the Berlin and Mallorca club scene. His works move between nights raving and days hanging – an unlikely but welcome narrative in the NPG."  

- Rhiannon Edwards - TIME OUT.

Interview PDF
Travel Award
National Portrait Gallery
2017— 2018

National Portrait Gallery
Gallery View
Room 30

The BP Travel Award 2017
National Portrait Gallery
Room 33
The BP Travel Award is a given to an artist to enable them to experience working in a different environment on a project related to portraiture. The BP Travel Award 2017 was won by Casper White for his proposal to create works about music fans in clubs and concert venues in Berlin and Mallorca, representing an often youth-related subculture that is not traditionally recorded in portrait paintings. The resulting work will be displayed in the BP Portrait Award 2018 exhibition

1 'I'll be waiting (Emma)’, Mallorca 
oil on stainless steel

2 ‘Next day 5 (Emma)’, Mallorca
pencil and watercolour on found book cover

3 ‘Next day 6 (Emma)’, Mallorca
pencil and watercolour on found book sleeve

4 ‘Next day 3 (Emma)’, Mallorca
pencil and watercolour on found neon paper

5 ‘Next day 7 (Hannah)’, Berlin
silverpoint, pencil and watercolour on found record sleeve

6 ‘Next day 4 (George)’, Berlin
pencil and watercolour on found book cover

7 ‘Into a light (Mabli)’, Berlin
oil on stainless steel

8 ‘Next day 2 (Mabli)’, Berlin
silverpoint and pencil on found record sleeve

9 ‘Next day 1 (Owain)’, Berlin
pencil and watercolour on found paper

10 ‘It just feels gross’, Berlin
oil on zinc

11 ‘Have to warm up to the feel of it (Mabli and George)’, Berlin
oil on canvas

12 'This is now (Dan)’, Berlin
oil on zinc

13 'I ran out of expectancy (Dan)’, Mallorca
oil on stainless steel

Confetti made from coloured lighting gels